January 20, 2020 – Good primer: A Guide To Photographing Birds and Wildlife In A Wetland Area.
January 8, 2020 – Winter maintenance continues. Pond One rained, burned, filled and good to go. Pond Two ready for the burn and fill. Stay tuned for further updates.
November 28, 2019 – Fall, winter maintenance completed on Pond One which was drained, tilled, and refilled.
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September 27, 2019 – Following are summaries of the recent very disturbing report of a very troubling decline in American birds.
Audio from Science Friday, reading from the NABCI.
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September 7, 2019 – Images of the Tierra Grande Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist new member Class of 2109 at their Balmorhea Training Day. Sessions were held at Balmorhea State Park, the Nature Conservancy and Sandia Springs Wetlands Project. Thank you Ellen Weinacht land owner and Sandia Springs project manager for hosting. And Ellen and Cindy Sims for images.
Though on private land Sandia Springs Wetlands Project is open to the public. For directions see the “Visit” tab above. Please sign our guest registry with any sightings you wish to report.
June 15, 2019 – More of Michael Gray’s wonderful images. This time from his recent trip to British Columbia, Canada. Thank you Michael!
May 18, 2019 – Sighting report from Michael Gray; Lake Balmorhea and Sandia Wetlands Project. Thank you Michael!
Cecilia and I ran up today and birded in Balmorhea – we started at lake – Large Grebes mostlty Clark’s Grebes were all over lake with some doing their breeding dance – large group of 51 White Pelicans and another large group 65 White-faced Ibis. Ospreys were fishing the lake – Then we did Sandia Wetlands which look great – not much activity and winds had really started to pick up – Only shorebirds were a pair of Black-necked Stilts and a pair of Killdeers – One small group of 3 Blue-winged Teal came in. Overall we had 19 species at wetlands including road in.
Looks like shorebirds and waterfowl migration is basically over for the spring. We did have 4 Spotted Sandpipers on lake.
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May 14, 2019 – Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration, registration opens tomorrow.
May 1, 2019 – Mark your calendars. 2019 Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration: Online only registration begins May 15th at 8:00 A.M. For further information follow this link:
April 28, 2019 – Due to generous funding on the part of Dan and Anna Gallagher matched by Pfizer, Sandia Wetlands has newly planted Black Willows (Salix nigra). These trees love sun, moisture and will grow to a height of 30 – 60 feet.
Thank You! Anna, Dan and Pfizer! We look forward to watching our new trees grow.
April 10, 2019 – Image of Clarks Grebe taken at Sandia Springs Wetlands by our very own Ellen Weinacht. This is an uncommon sighting for this area.
March 13, 2019 – A sampling of the Sandia Springs Wetlands guest registry. If you visit be sure to let us know you were here and of any sightings.
February 18, 2019 – Great trip / sighting report from Cecilia Riley. Excellent photos to follow as well. Thank you Cecilia and Mike.
Mike and I had a pretty good day yesterday birding the Balmorhea area. Below is the checklist of birds we had at Sandia Wetlands and I have included a few of Mike’s photos from there too. Enjoy! BTW-the ponds are in great shape. Good job on the management effforts.
Cecilia M Riley
Malcolm C Damuth Foundation, Board Member
Davis Mountains Hummingbird Celebration, Volunteer
Life is better with birds!
Sandia Wetlands, Balmorhea, Reeves, Texas, US
Feb 18, 2019 2:34 PM – 3:12 PM
Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera) 2
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 1
Gadwall (Mareca strepera) 15
American Wigeon (Mareca americana) 18
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) 4
Mexican Duck (Anas diazi) 3
Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca) 23
Scaled Quail (Callipepla squamata) 16
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 3
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) 1
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) 1
Merlin (Prairie) (Falco columbarius richardsonii) 1
Verdin (Auriparus flaviceps) 1
Curve-billed Thrasher (Toxostoma curvirostre) 1
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 51
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) 2
Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) 1
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 4
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) 3
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana) 2
View this checklist online at: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52894737
February 5, 2019 – We were delighted to host Kay Charter a very good friend and Executive Director of Saving Birds Thru Habitat
February 6, 2019 – THE HUMMINGBIRD AS WARRIOR: EVOLUTION OF A FIERCE AND FURIOUS BEAK
January 4, 2019 – Science Friday segment: “Gaga For Grosbeaks? Coveting Chickadees? Devoted To Ducks?” on birding and the annual Christmas bird count. Worth the listen.
December 16, 2018 – Images taken during this past weekend’s Christmas Bird count taken by Michael Gray. Thank you Michael!
November 15, 2018 – Following is a detailed sighting report from Cecilia Riley who visited Sandia on November 14th. Thank you Cecilia and we urge all visitors to report their sightings via app or email to email@example.com or list them at our Sandia Wetland Alcove guest book.
Sandia Wetlands, Balmorhea
Nov 14, 2018
All birds reported? Yes
Comments: Birding with Joan Blankenship and her friend from garden club
Submitted from eBird for iOS, version 1.8.1 Build 43 Gadwall
10 American Wigeon
2 Green-winged Teal
4 Wilson’s Snipe
1 Northern Harrier
4 Red-tailed Hawk
2 Say’s Phoebe
1 Loggerhead Shrike
1 Common Raven
2 Marsh Wren
2 White-crowned Sparrow
7 Vesper Sparrow
11 Savannah Sparrow
2 Song Sparrow
1 Swamp Sparrow
12 Eastern Meadowlark (Lilian’s)
1 Red-winged Blackbird
4 Brewer’s BlackbirdNumber of Taxa: 19Cecilia
Life is Better with Birds
October 3, 2018 – Sandia Wetlands Project is regularly used as a study or research site and we are delighted to have these activities. Following are images taken during a transect plant survey. The purpose of the study is to compare how previous / current land use affects wetland restoration efforts. This is to accurately assess the health and layout of each wetland, suggest future restoration efforts, contribute to long term water quality monitoring and encourage other landowners to consider similar water management projects.
September 29, 2018 – Dave Mainz shown here at Balmorhea State Park giving a wetlands ecology lecture to Tierra Grande’s new Member Class of 2018. Dave is a Tierra Grande charter member (Class of 2005) Master Naturalist and long time supporter, and volunteer at Sandia Wetlands Project.
“Coming Soon” To Sandia, on November 14th: The Alpine Gardening Club! Welcome! We look forward to their visit.
August 23, 2018 – Davis Mountains Hummingbird Festival Event Schedule For Sandia Wetlands
August 20, 2018 – Chris Wilson (left), Sandia Project Manager and Dave Mainz upgraded the flooring of the Dragonfly Pond bridge for this weekend’s Hummingbird Festival.
August 8, 2018 – Volunteers come in all sizes
August 2, 2018 – Confirmed Beto O’Rourke sighting at Sandia Springs Wetlands
July 11, 2018 – Annual maintenance. Next step fill with water.
July 4, 2018 – New signage marking the location of Sandia Wetlands on Highway 17 either side of Reeves County Road (CR 313). It is now even easier to find us. Come visit!
Sandia is an official part of the Texas Parks & Wildlife Far West Texas Wildlife Trail, Davis Mountains Loop. More information can be found here:
For map and directions to Sandia Wetlands see our “Visit” tab above.
July 3, 2018 – Some great images shared with us by Gaylon Wampler. Thank you Gaylon!
June 20, 2018 – With increased drilling and exploration in the region ongoing research of underground water quality will be undertaken by hydrogeologists with the UT Austin Bureau of Economic Geology (BEG). For detailed information see our “Research” tab (above).
June 20, 2018 – Year to date posts to our “Sightings, Visitors” tab (above) have been made. We are pleased to see visitorship continues it’s upward trend over prior years.
Friday June 8, 2018 – Water was shut off to Unit #2 @ 1 pm for annual maintenance. We are using sand bags this time.
April 5th we lost Dave Hedges to cancer and neuromuscular disease. Dave was a great friend in many ways and Project Manager for Sandia Springs Wetlands. Dave was there for us in the beginning when Sandia was just an inspired idea through to what it has become today. We could not have done it without him.
We will miss Dave.
Dave will be missed.
April 15, 2018 – Life list sighting by Harry Wilson and wife Hallie traveling the region from Zebulon, NC. A Cinnamon Teal:
Congratulations Harry and Hallie. Please come see us again.
February 20, 2018 – Sandia as a research site has been part of larger studies on the part of Borderland Research Institute, Sul Ross and other institutions. Soon we will welcome Anna Elisa Pina, Phd student from the University of Texas at El Paso. As part of her thesis Anna will be surveying wetlands in the desert Southwest including Sandia for macro invertebrate communities and water quality. Welcome Anna! Go Miners!
February 20, 2018 – Busy times at Sandia Springs Wetlands. Thinking of visiting? Directions and map under the “Visit” tab. We would love to have you.
February 8, 2018 – Sign dedicated to Dave Hedges – Sandia Project Manager, Dave Mainz and Michael Carter.
February 8, 2018 – Sandia’s Dragonfly Pond at sunset with it’s newly completed walkway
Metal Art Kiosk created by Diane Billingsley, (purpleanvil.com) designed by Linda Duncan. Alligator Juniper logs donated by the Natural Conservancy, Davis Mountains Preserve.
February 3, 2018 – Michael Gray images from his and Cecilia’s recent visit to Sandia. Thank you Michael for sharing!
February 2, 2018 – Texas Parks & Wildlife recently aired a TV segment titled “Wetlands For Birds”.
Included were West Texas Wetlands in the driest region of Texas, and the ingenious landowners who created their own desert oasis.
Featured is Sandia Wetlands, Balmorea and our very own Ellen Weinacht landowner and inspiration behind Sandia; Christmas Mountains Oasis – South Brewster County; and the B. J. Bishop Wetland – Presidio County. The segment follows is very well done and worth the watch. Enjoy!
January 23, 2018 – Happy New Year Y’all! Controlled burns were conducted this week to remove encroaching and invasive plants. All four ponds should be up and running by week’s end. Cattails have been planted in our Dragonfly pond. Looking forward to spring. Come and enjoy Sandia Springs, directions under the “visit” tab above.
November 11, 2017 – The Snow Geese Are Back! Come See Them, Bring The Family.
October 15, 2017 – This Time Of Year Sandia Wetlands Is Popular With Ducks & Geese. A Lift Off Of Ducks Shown In The Video. Come Visit! – A Map Of Our Location Is Under The “Visit” Tab Above.
Sept 23, 2017 – Seasonal Transition Of Wetlands For Ducks and Geese.
Shown: Unit 3 Mowed and Being Refilled.
(Click On Link To View)
August 10, 2017 – Tierra Grand Class of 2017 Members Are “Hands On” with Wetlands Maintenance & Fall Cleanup. Thank You Texas Master Naturalists One and All!
August 7, 2017 – Come and Experience Sandia Springs Wetlands New Dragonfly Pond. (Images By Michael Gray)
July 5, 2017 – New Irrigation Gates Installed. Also Shown – Dave Hedges Long Time Sandia Springs Project Manager. Thank You Dave! (Image By Dave Mainz)
June 3, 2017 – Sightings and images from Sandia Wetlands Project. Thank you Mike and Cecilia Gray!
Following image with dark eye (not red) is maybe a Glossy Ibis. The rest are White Faced Ibis. Unconfirmed sighting and images from Mike Gray – May 5, 2017. Thank you Mike!
Additional images by Mike Gray
The following images taken by Mark Lockwood, TPWD April 24, 2017. American Golden-Plovers are quite rare in the Trans-Pecos. Thank you Mark!
Drone Footage, Sandia Wetlands Project – April 13, 2017. How far we have come in just a few short years. Spring migration is well underway we expect to see you soon.
“New Flash” – Herring Gull Sighting March 31, 2017. Reported By Cecilia Riley, Thank You Cecilia!
Soon To Be Released Drone Overview Of Sandia Wetlands Project. Here Is A Teaser – March 9, 2017
Snow Geese From Contributor Melody Lytle Thank You Melody – March 5, 2017
Dragonfly Pond Strategy Meeting, Sandia Wetlands Project – March 3, 2017
Plotters and planners Kay Charter – Director Saving Birds Thru Habitat, Dave Mainz, Chris Wilson, Gary Martin – President TAMU Press, all plotting and planning for the new dragonfly pond. Not shown Ellen Weinacht, Photographer and Sandia Wetlands Project Director.
More about Saving Birds Thru Habitat: http://www.savingbirds.org/index.html
Geese and replenished water in all units after winter repair and improvements – February 28, 2017
NEW FLASH – February 22, 2017
Winter upgrades and improvements have all been completed at Sandia Springs Wetlands. All units have water and we are waiting on spring migration: Bring It On!
Snow Geese February 2, 2017
Rare Burrowing Owl Sighted, (Groucho subspecies)
Recent images taken at Sandia Wetlands by Bill Wright. Thank You Bill! January 21, 2017
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Just in: Results from last month’s Balmorhea & Davis Mtns, Christmas Bird Count. Thank you Mark Lockwood, TPWD – January 21, 2017
(Click on links)
Wetlands Improvements Underway – January 13, 2017
Recent Images From Maryann Eastman – January 13, 2017
News Update From Ellen Weinacht – January 6, 2017
Preparations are underway to ready the wetland for the installation of new gates in ponds 2 and 4 and new drainage pipes in ponds 3 and 1. The pools have been drained and the ducks and geese have made themselves at home in ponds 1 and 2, our overflow ponds. Work must be completed by mid-July. Our thanks again to Ducks Unlimited for their generous grant.
The dragonfly pond is nearly off the drawing board and promises to be another exciting adventure.
Ducks in flight:
Geese in flight:
Ducks and More Ducks at Sandia Wetlands, November 26, 2016
(CLICK ON LINK TO VIEW)
November 3, 2016
TEXAS MASTER NATURALIST CHAPTER ANNOUNCES RECEIPT OF GENEROUS GRANT FROM DUCKS UNLIMITED TO BENEFIT THE SANDIA SPRINGS WETLAND PROJECT, BALMORHEA TEXAS.
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August, 2016 Davis Mountains Annual Humming Bird Festival
Sandia Springs Wetlands hosted as one of the venues for this event.
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE)
July, 2016 Sandia Wetlands Project Maintenance & Cleanup
(CLICK ON IMAGES FOR CAPTION & TO ENLARGE)
Wednesday July 20, 2016
On Wednesday 20th July, 2016, a group of 22 high school students were given a tour of the Sandia Springs wetlands. The students were there as part of the Wildlife Conservation Camp hosted by The Texas Chapter of The Wildlife Society. On this morning, students were given a lecture by Dr. Ryan O’Shaughnessy from the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University. The lecture included discussion of wetland functions, timing of flooding and draw-downs, seed and invertebrate production, as well as information on management tools used in wetlands. After the initial talk, students were led around the periphery of the wetlands to examine the water-control feature currently being implemented at the Sandia Springs. The student showed great interest in the wetlands, and asked some meaningful and well thought questions. A good time was had by all, and the Wildlife Camp hopes to return to the Sandia Springs in the near future.
Ryan O’Shaughnessy, Ph.D
Borderlands Research Institute
Department of Natural Resource Management
Sul Ross State University
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Sandia Springs Hosts Texas A&M Press Publishers Board. May 22, 2016
Ellen Weinacht Sandia Springs Wetlands property owner, sponsor and Tierra Grande member last weekend May 22nd hosted breakfast for the Advancement Board of Texas A&M University Press of which Ellen is a member. The TAMU Press has published works of folks very familiar to Tierra Grande Members and friends including Jackie Poole, Madge Lindsey, Dr. Louis Harveson and others. Credit to Dave Mainz for the images including those of White-faced Ibis.
For more information on TAMU University Press:
Josh Burns, Sandia Springs Wetlands Update. 2/11/16
Yesterday, I was up at the Balmorhea area birding places and have some information you (and whoever) might like to have. Balmorhea Lake was very high and between the high water and the flooded access roads I found only a few ducks and only one Snow Goose.
I drove over to Sandia and there were 62 Snow Geese including a half-dozen or so Blue Geese on the pond by the blind. Also a few shovelers, cinnamon teal and Mexican Ducks. I did not go into the wetlands as the geese seemed to be a bit jumpy about my presence.
Did the Snow Geese move (of course)?
2015 Balmorhea Christmas Bird Count
The 2015 Christmas Bird Count list was provided by Mark Lockwood, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Lots of Birds.
CLICK ON LINK TO DOWNLOAD TO YOUR COMPUTER
Ever wondered how the count got started and how the data is used today?
Learn more by going to the following Audubon link.
December 26, 2015 Boxing Day!
BOXING DAY DECEMBER 26, 2015 AT SANDIA SPRINGS WETLANDS!
Images taken from the Carter Bird Blind: CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE
What is Boxing Day all about anyway? Find out here, enjoy:
TUESDAY DECEMBER 8, 2015
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Lots of snow geese and ducks.
SATURDAY MAY 23, 2015
Ellen and Don Weinacht hosted the very first Sandia Wetlands “Hoedown”. Friends, neighbors, dignitaries came from far and wide to enjoy BBQ, cold refreshments, make new acquaintances and renew old friendships and to honor the completion of the wetlands bird blind with a champagne dedication. A good time was had by all.
Click on images to enlarge.
FRIDAY MARCH 27, 2015
Ellen Weinacht and Dave Mainz added the finishing touches to the bird blind with an expertly applied seal coat on all the wood except for the cedar siding. The blind is open for business.
Click on image to enlarge.
SATURDAY MARCH 14, 2015
Bird blind roof installed, cedar siding completed, window sills installed…..construction is complete, and ready to use. Enjoy
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FRIDAY FEBRUARY 13, 2015
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Framing for the walls completed work was started on the cedar siding. Work to continue…..in a week or so…
SATURDAY JANUARY 17, 2015 – Fortunately Michael Carter was in charge otherwise we might still be out there. Michael designed the project, ordered materials and made sure we had the right equipment. This will be an ongoing project if you are interested in helping out. The first stage began yesterday Saturday, January 17th and will continue early next week. Half the flooring is complete. We had a great turn out. Ellen hosted potluck lunch. Other wetlands work was done as well including wetlands maintenance and the removal of unwanted plants, dried brush and tumbleweed.
CLICK IMAGES TO ENLARGE
Work continued Tuesday January 20th. The deck was nearly completed, work began on the front wall facing the water.
Work will continue to two weeks or so. The floor framing plan was abused.
Work continued February 8 – Framing for roof and walls was nearly completed. Michael’s prebuilt stairs were installed. Work to be continue later this week.
Click on images to enlarge.